Really low conversion rate, what does it mean?


My startup sells a fairly expensive (2500$~) desktop product, we are new in a well-established market and it's been 2 months that we are selling the product.

We do have an evaluation request page which users need to fill up to get a demo version (fully functional, time limited demo ), page require plenty of information and we do not accept free emails or incorrectly filled up forms.

We do get 4-5 good demo requests per day which is good because all of them look like real potential buyers.

The problem though we can convert only ~0.5% of them. All of our sales happening via other channels. Personal contacts, events etc.

Possible causes:

  1. Our product really sucks!
  2. It's too expensive
  3. People are scared to buy expensive products from small companies
Answers to Possible causes:
  1. Our current users are really happy with the product
  2. It's not any more expensive than our competitors, actually cheaper than many of them

We don't actually follow up many of these users (we'll ) so I don't have good feedback on why they didn't buy. I heard "lack of features" from some of them. We are one of those companies who does the core product so good but not include tons of features, that was a design decision and I think cost us some sales (can't say how many ).

So what do you think does it mean? Many startups sell smaller products with a price range of 5-250$ that's why I can't find enough data or talk about selling expensive products (1000$+)

I hope I gave you enough background, feel free to ask me if you have any questions. 9 Months Later Update Thanks everyone, I wanted to give you an update, 9 months later than the original question.

  • Our current conversion rate is 7.5% which is good I guess for an expensive product.
  • Main reason to increase that I think product quality went up
  • Secondly customer's order process takes about 2 months and when I wrote 0.5% conversion rate we were fairly new. So I assume if I wrote the question 2 months later our conversion rates would be around 3-4%
  • Survey didn't work out nicely, we got some response but nothing actionable and response to survey was quite low as well. To be honest even after 9 months we couldn't manage to get a good after-demo feedback, we still working on a better process to improve this.

Hope this data helps to other startups.

Sales CRM Demo Conversion

asked Mar 10 '10 at 18:34
The Dictator
2,305 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • +1 for possible cause "our product really sucks" .. its nice to see people consider that their product might suck, which can be a great way to inspire ways to fix a problem. Good job for not being arrogant and accepting the fact that you can always be better. – Frank 13 years ago
  • Thanks Frank, this was an old post. Actually currently we hit a conversion rate like 7.5% One of the possible mistakes I've done about conversion calculation was that I've done it too early. Before people had possibility to finish their order cycle. Which generally takes between 1-2 months. – The Dictator 13 years ago

9 Answers


There are two ways to building up an healthy sales pipeline:
1) increase the conversion rate from website visitors to prospects who fill the form.
2) increase conversion rate from prospects that fill the form, to people who actually buy

To achieve #1, you need to reduce your website friction as much as you can. Simplify the form, ask for less data, accept free emails...
I have done this with great success in the past. I reduced the forms to ask for Name and Email (in some cases company) and accept free email addresses.
What I've come to realize is most of web prospects use their personal emails when filling up "request" forms. That ensures they won't receive tons of promotional stuff on their corporate email account, and gives them a sense of safety (since you can't derive the company name from the email address, you will not be hunting them down over the phone).
Asking for a lot of information drives people off your site and to your competitors that ask less stuff. Simple rule.

To achieve #2 is a little tougher. The ideal thing to do would be to provide them with something they can use for free (with some feature limitations, or with an expiration date like a 30 days trial). This will allow people to use your product, experience how they can use it and how helpful it is, and then contact you to buy it.
If you can't offer a free trial of your product, then you probably need to take a second look at how you do your demos. Having 4-5 good demo requests a day and then only 0.5% buying it may be an indication that your demos are just not good.
I don't know your product nor your demos, so I can't pin-point anything in particular. My advice is to start off with a use-case that makes sense for your prospect, and then show him how you can address that use-case with your product. Don't talk about the features you love, talk about how the prospect's problems get solved with what you have.

Feel free to contact me directly (mozzello AT if you want to discuss this in more detail.

Hope this helps

answered Mar 10 '10 at 21:39
825 points
  • Great point regarding email domains. I agree that some people may be reluctant to use a company email address so as to remain anonymous (business-wise) during the evaluation period. Do some A/B testing and you will get your answer. – Clint 14 years ago


1) If you really think about it, the answer to your question is there, you just need to get it. You have a pretty good flow of interested prospects who end up not buying the product. So get to them. Their answers can have a major impact on your business in successfully converting subsequent prospects so it's worth the effort. How?

  • Send them an online survey and offer a $20 Starbuck's gift card to the first xx who fill it out.
  • Send a single email with a single open-ended question and offer a $20 Starbuck's card to complete responses.
  • Send a single email asking for people willing to do a 10 minute phone interview for a $20 Starbuck's gift card.

Getting even a few to respond should provide you with a lot of valuable information that will help improve your success in the future. So do it!

2) In parallel, look at the entire flow of traffic to your site and through to sign up and then purchase. To some of the comments above, how can you tune and improve the flow and conversions at every point? As suggested, testimonials on your site, any other credibility points you can communicate, potentially improved homepage, easier sign looking at the source of your traffic. Are these the right qualified prospects? These your target audience?

3) And a great suggestion above to also interview your customers to find out why they purchased the product and any hesitations they may have had.

Best of luck,

answered Mar 11 '10 at 01:03
4,214 points


Why don't you be less demanding and just ask for an email address to evaluate which you send the details to. We've found the more difficult it is the less likely people are to fill it in. Then you would have a bigger sample to follow-up with questions.

answered Mar 10 '10 at 19:26
Mark Stephens
976 points
  • There are certain reasons, but core reason is our demo is quite more than you need. Think of a memory profiler, you generally run it once and it kind of does the job. We are trying produce a new limited demo then we'll make the demo process easier. Also see here: Dictator 14 years ago


One obstacle to conversions is the fact that you're a new company. New software startups need to try harder to make their first sales, just because they haven't built up their reputation. One thing you can do to try to convince potential buyers, is to have some good user reviews of your site. Have you tried to solicit any reviews from any of your happy customers?

You should place these reviews, or at least the first couple sentences, with a link to the rest of the review, on one of your main pages, if not your main page. Anything else you can do to convince visitors that you're reputable will help, especially since you have a high markup sales item. If I were going to plunk that much money down, I'd want to make sure that the company I'm buying from is both reputable, and will be around for a while.

answered Mar 10 '10 at 21:09
216 points
  • That's a good advice. We don't have too much testimonials but we already put 5 of them to the website. – The Dictator 14 years ago


Find a way to start asking your eval customers why they don't buy. Start today!

They will tell you exactly why they were attracted enough to your product to request an eval and why they didn't purchase. If you listen to them and can do what they ask you'll turn this around and start enjoying much more success.

answered Mar 11 '10 at 03:32
Keith De Long
5,091 points


I agree on above,

  1. Get more info for the downloaders
  2. you need to increase the inbound flow of leads 0,5% (1 out of 200) on daily 4-5 downloads that means one sale every 40-50 days. Thats less then 2000 revenue from the site per month.

Incoming flow can be increased by:

  1. Drop the free emails limit. You can collect data by automated email campaign. Maybe they do not trust you yet with the corporate account the therefor use some spamfolder (free email).
  2. Accept incompete forms (name+email) will do for first contact. You can warm them up later with automated emails or webinars.
  3. Put more trust element on the page ('we do not spam' text, happy user text etc.)
  4. Video demo of product and special landingpages can help.

You need 200 leads per day to have a serious business (one sale per day), and them I am focusing on the same conversion rate in sales. The funnel needs to me automatically qualifying. SO you cannot make 200 calls per day with this conversion to automate a lot and when you are really really ready... call them.


answered Jun 22 '10 at 06:34
Reedge.Com Increase Conversion
31 points


How did you choose your price point? It is possible that your price is too low. Sometimes there is this pricing netherland between a low price product and a high quality product where people are confused what they are getting and so can't make a decision.

answered Jan 27 '11 at 08:16
Kenneth Vogt
2,917 points


  • Existing customers are really happy
  • You're converting a tiny proportion of a handful of tightly qualified demo-ers
  • Sales from this method run at a sale every other month or thereabouts

You have two huge embedded assumptions.

You feel that your means of initial qualification (asking for loads of information, excluding free email addresses etc) is eliminating time-wasters, not deterring prospective purchasers.

And you feel that product demo is the effective route to conversion.

Turn off both assumptions for a while. Let people try your product without jumping through so many hoops. Let anyone sign up for a demo, and don't make anyone bother with a demo at all.

What have you got to lose?

I'd expect that this will be annoying (there are probably good reasons based on bad experiences that made you use this approach in the first place), but it will give you far more of a learning opportunity.

And right now, learning, not speculation, is the main thing you need.

answered Jan 27 '11 at 17:03
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points
  • In our case there are 2 reasons: 1) We don't want our software's crack around (and so far we succeeded) 2) Some users might use the software once and not need it any more (our software is something like this : One time use can be enough and yes sometimes we sell it for just 5-15 times use in a year. I know clients who uses only 5 times in a year and still happy. – The Dictator 13 years ago
  • 1) Worrying about your software getting cracked is like worrying about your song getting playlisted. 2) I'm not saying this is the answer. But I am saying that your learning is slow and expensive. So you've loaded in yet another assumption - that people who get high value fast out of trial software won't buy. Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong. I'd want to value testing over theorising in a situation like this. – Jeremy Parsons 13 years ago


I think it has to do with the way you look at these "leads" or possible clients.

The problem though we can convert only
~0.5% of them. All of our sales
happening via other channels. Personal
contacts, events etc.

It would seem that the people who are buying it are buying "you" and the relationship that they have with you and you selling them the product.

Why do you treat these people like second class citizens?

We don't actually follow up many of
these users

I would assume you would want to pick up the phone and give them the same level of attention you would give them if they were meeting you at an event or through those other channels.

I think if you give them the same level of "love" and attention, you will close more sales.

answered Jan 29 '11 at 04:07
468 points

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